Documentation Research & Training Centre, Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore, India

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Nov 5, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Use of web technology in providing information services by south Indian
technological universities as displayed on library websites

Preedip Balaji B and Vinit Kumar
Documentation Research & Training Centre, Indian Statistical Institute
Bangalore, India



1. Preedip Balaji B
Junior Research Fellow, Documentation Research & Training Centre
Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore – 560 059 Ph +80 2848 3003
Email ID:
pradipbalaji@gmail.com

Brief biography
Preedip Balaji B. holds a masters degree in library and information science from Bharathidasan
University, Trichy, and qualified UGC’s Junior Research Fellowship. Currently he is a junior
research fellow at Documentation Research & Training Centre, Bangalore. His research
interests lies in faceted analysis and classification, information sources and services, and
natural language processing.

2. Vinit Kumar
Senior Research Fellow, Documentation Research and Training Centre
Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore – 560 059 Ph +80 2848 3003
Email ID:
mailvinitkumar@gmail.com



Brief biography
Vinit Kumar is a researcher in library and information science presently associated with
Documentation Research and Training Centre, Indian Statistical Institute, India. He obtained his
masters in Library and information Science from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 2007.
His research interests are library online services, faceted classification, semantic web and
libraries, and Digital libraries. He is currently working in finding out the potential areas for
application of semantic web in libraries.


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Use of web technology in providing information services by south Indian technological
universities as displayed on library websites



Abstract
Purpose - This paper aims to discuss the present status of using new generation web
technology, social media and Web 2.0 features among the technological university library
websites in south India. It assesses the library websites as a primary platform and one-stop
portal for information services and examines as to how much library websites are effective in
providing web-based information services.
Design/Methodology/Approach - The library websites of the technological universities in south
India were evaluated on the basis of a relative weight checklist. The criteria for the checklist was
drawn on the basis of availability of websites for library, resource discovery tools, access to
scholarly content and Web 2.0 tools. The various issues and challenges in adapting new web
technologies in academic environment are discussed.
Findings - Using the current web development technologies and deploying for mainstream web
information services is not widespread as web information services are yet to take off widely in
academic libraries. The majority of university libraries are found to be working in the
conventional library settings and the diffusion rate of web information services is relatively low.
Originality/value - As this is an assessment of the existing online information infrastructure
facilities of the engineering universities in south India, the awareness of web-based information
services, their viability, and service values can be enhanced. More emphasis is underlined to
improve upon the current learning, online educational facilities and benchmarking electronic
information services for sustainability is highlighted.
Paper type – Case study
Keywords - Web technology, Web information services, Web 2.0, Technological universities,
Academic library websites, South India

1. Introduction
1.1 Technical education in India
India as an emerging destination of knowledge economy is getting widely recognised as a
global hub for education and trade. Globalisation of innovation and groundbreaking technologies
are providing easier access to information resources in enriching the learning experience.
Unlike the past, the phenomenal growth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
has impacted tremendously and the world is rapidly shrinking as the learning communities are
brought closer. The globalisation vastly fosters global education by forging partnerships and
facilitating cultural exchanges across various countries in the information-driven global village.
The response of higher education to globalisation had been empirically evidenced in India from
the pre-reform period 1980 to 1991 to post-reform period from 1991 to 2005. Indian higher
education has substantially grown after the liberalisation of higher educational policies. Table 1
clearly indicates the magnitude of globalisation, economic growth and higher education of India
in the final two decades of 20
th
century. Although the outlay of the total government expenditure
during post-reform period was not proactive in the country, the total number of higher
educational institutions had increased dramatically owing to liberal education policies (Selvam,
2010). Total number of universities in India was 378, and the colleges 18064 in 2007;
enrollments had increased from 7,50,000 to 1,400,000 in 2007 and are continuing to grow
exponentially as the government is strategising on capacity expansion, inclusiveness, incentives
and access to quality education (Planning Commission, 2008 p. 22). Indo-US educational tie-
ups are rising in the recent years, with estimation that 120 educational partnerships between
USA and India were established so far (Kannan, 2010). As the gross domestic product (GDP) of

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India is growing consistently during the post-liberalisation period with 6.07 percent in 2008, the
rate of youth literacy had also grown gradually at 82.1 percent (World Bank, 2010).

During the last few decades, Indian technical education comprising of technology, engineering,
management, pharmaceutical, computing, and information technology studies have expanded
with government liberalising and allocating more funds to ensure inclusivity. Moreover,
encouraging public-private partnerships and upgrading the technical education system in
response to the demanding workforce for the fast growing diverse industries is also on the rise.
In continuing the strides to ensure the economic development and progress, government of
India is keen on establishing more educational institutions to keep the Gross Enrolment Ratio
(GER) up. The present GER is 45 hundred thousand in higher and technical education, which is
being expected to increase to 16% in 2012, while the government has set the target of 30%
increase by 2020 (http://www.aicte-india.org/expansion.htm). India turns out to be having one of
the largest technical education systems in the world, with 1511 educational institutions. It had
been found that the average intake was 365 per institute and the growth rate of academic output
for the period from 2001 to 2006 was 20.3% in degree level engineering education. As on 2006,
two prominent states in southern India, Andhra Pradesh (280) and Tamil Nadu (268) were the
top states to have more number of engineering institutions with an annual sanctioned intake of
1,07,575 and 1,05,318 respectively (Banerjee & Muley, 2007, pp. 7 & 43).

"Take in Table (1)"

Table 1: Magnitude of globalisation, economic growth and higher education in India.


Variables
Pre-reform
Period (1980-81-
1990-1991)
Post-reform Period
(1991-92-2004-05)
Percent of
Change
Globalisation 8.65 14.53 67.97
Economic Growth 5.65 6.16 9.03
Higher
Education/GDP 0.72 0.71 -1.37
Higher
Education/Total
Government
Expenditure 2.45 2.49 1.63
Number of Higher
Educational
Institutions 5,932 13,985 135.75

Note: Annual average growth in percentage (Selvam, 2010).

Due to the neo-liberal policies in the late 1970s to 1980s, the higher education was led to rapid
privatisation, expansion and subsequent entry of more private players in the sector, started
capitalising the education market potential. Nonetheless, setting up of more technical institutions
by government has been planned for strengthening skilled human resources for the growing
economy. Under the eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-2012, government has been establishing
new 8 Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), 7 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), 10 National
Institute of Technology (NITs), 20 International Institute of Information Technology (IIITs) and 2
Schools of Planning and Architectures, of which many of them are work in progress and have
already started the programmes (http://www.aicte-india.org/mhrd.html).

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In addition to the established 7,000 engineering colleges, producing 8,00,000 graduates every
year, in the academic year 2009-10 alone, 205 new institutions were approved for setting up
institutions in engineering studies (Vaidhyasubramaniam, 2010). For the growing robust
economy, National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM, 2006)
projected the new services market in engineering services - Engineering Services Outsourcing
(ESO) and the global spending value of this market would be $750 billion per year. Capitalising
on expanding global engineering services, India is expected to be global player in having quality
engineering and technical workforce. Of the 1400 odd engineering colleges, only a fraction of
graduates are considered for jobs based on employability skills and market-ready
competencies. Despite the fact that Indian workforce is in high scarcity for the global off-shoring
and domestic engineering services industry, the apprehension of the productivity of graduates
and their domain expertise for employability is still high (NASSCOM, 2010, p. 9). According to
the Indian Science Report (2005, p.35), commissioned by National Council of Applied Economic
Research, the annual growth in enrollments in engineering education had been increasing year
by year at a rate of 21.09 % in 2003 (See Figure 1).

"Take in Figure (1)"

Figure 1: Gross enrolment in higher education at graduate level






Note: UGC=University Grants Commission, India. NCAER=National Council of Applied
Economic Research. Source: India Science Report (Shukla, 2005, p. 8).

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1.2 Current Scenario in Technical Education
Looking at the current status of technical education in India, the education policies should
evolve with the changing demands of employability and career prospects. Poising a futuristic
outlook, federal and state policies of technical education should revamp on organisation
restructuring, strategic revitalisation of functional areas, uniformity and academic reforms to
overcome deficiencies in regional imbalances, providing operational freedom and autonomy,
backed-up with quality policies and accreditation procedures in place. Furthermore, the
education should be strengthened to have a learner-centric pedagogy and should stimulate
practical, result-oriented learning to ensure quality-controlled, up-to date, relevant innovative
education for all.
At present the current technical education system has been handicapped with these prevalent
issues nationwide:

1. State-funded universities are more burdened with administrative functions of regulatory
and affiliation works of regional technical institutions in its jurisdiction, impeding the
progress and prospects of research output. Moreover, the flexibility in interdisciplinary
curriculum and academic freedom are less.
2. State and national councils of higher and technical education need more activism for
effective compliance of international educational standards and accreditation.
3. The existing bureaucratic accreditation procedures managed by various quality councils
and accreditation bodies, call for standardisation and quality assurance of Indian
programmes.
4. The current practices of rote learning and pedagogical approach emphasise more on
theory-based examinations, thus learner aspiration largely inherent on scoring marks not
life skills and career competencies.
5. Higher learning systems are more of monotonous, not an enabler of thinking, not
participatory, and completely lacks student-oriented approach. Hence, the system
should change likely where students collaborate more with faculty so as to spark off to
intellectual enquiry and to be inquisitive.

1.3 The rise of technical education in south India
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra states account for nearly 55% of the
engineering colleges and 58% of enrolments in the country (Planning Commission, 2008, p. 28).
In the last few decades, south India has been in dominance establishing more technical
institutions with annual capacity additions by new entrants in the technical education sector,
which is still on the uptrend to date (See Figure 2).

Unfortunately, the information infrastructure facilities like developing course contents for
students, enhancing participatory learning, expanding the scope of library and information
services, engaging education through social media, understanding the student information
seeking behaviour, did not keep pace with the growing student enrollments. Information and
communication technologies have widely impacted the learning process and education, but the
crossover of quality and reality has to be examined as to how far these thriving professional
institutions are best in providing quality technical education.

“Take in Figure (2)”

Figure 2: The number of colleges established during 2003 through 2009 in south India.

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Note: The data has been taken from the respective websites of state directorates [1] of technical
education for 2009, and the 2003 data is as cited by Varshney (2006, p. 24).
2. Statement of the problem
With the emergence of Internet, the web based information services have put wide impact on
the provision of library and information services. Booming technical education sector has given
access to formal education to many, but the quality of the education, assisted with enriching
information services require more attention and strategic directions to ensure all the learners
have access to information infrastructure and resources.
Many studies have been undertaken to investigate the usability, user satisfaction and the library
services globally and in Indian academic settings. However, the online library services support
to the growing academic community is a big cause of concern, as it calls for transformation of
conventional library services to rolling out online information services as well as scaling up
cyberinfrastructure in academic libraries. This study attempts to evaluate the use of web
technology perceived by library and information service community in select technological
academic library websites in south India.
3. Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are formulated for the purpose of conducting the investigation of this
study, although the generalisations are provisional.
 The academic library websites serve as primary access point of information access and
resources. The information resources and services provided by the libraries are well
displayed and have online presence.
 The augmentation of websites for library, resource discovery tools, accessibility to
scholarly content and Web 2.0 tools are widely implemented to bring satisfaction to the
end-users.
4. Objectives of the Study

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The goal of this study is to examine at the use of new developments in web technology, content
updateness of library websites, online information services supporting the faculty and students
as to:

 What is the current level of diffusion of web technologies among the academic libraries?
 What are the challenges need to be addressed in providing quality web information
services?
 How academic library websites accommodate the challenges and opportunities to
facilitate learning?

5. Literature Review
Academic libraries were confronted when the Web emerged as the potential replacement for
information services. As the profound tasks of selecting, collecting, organising, and
disseminating information was taken over by Internet it became an uphill task to prove our ideal
expertise in organising information with exemplary models of websites. Liu (2008) described
academic library websites are libraries’ “virtual presentation to the world. Academic library Web
sites provide access to online catalogs, electronic databases, subject resources, library
instruction/tutorials, and digital collections. In alignment with each institution’s mission,
academic library web sites are gateways to information that supports faculty and students’
research and educational needs”. Thomas and McDonald, (2005) had put it “libraries are facing
a new generation of online users who are technologically savvy and integrate information
access and use in all spheres of their lives to an unprecedented degree. They approach the
traditional library with certain expectation that may conflict with the existing services, policies,
and values of the library as information broker”.

Stover (1997) offered that “academic library web sites are needed to support their college or
university, primarily through supporting the three-fold mission of higher education--research,
instruction, and service”. Felstead (2004), undertaking a survey of integrated library
management systems of academic market of UK and North America during 1999-2003, found
out “growth of web services may enable a new approach to the procurement of library
management systems”. Hiong (2001), while examining the twelve Malaysian academic library
websites reported "academic library web sites in Malaysia have not come up to expectations as
virtual expressions of the quality levels of the academic libraries. There are very strong
expectations of these web sites because people would expect information professionals as one
of several professions vying for leadership in the information age to organise and present
information in a way that best fits the users’ attention and knowledge".

Looking at the challenges of college and research libraries' in a digital library environment
Kibirige and DePalo (2001) stressed on “an urgent need to develop user-education programs
that emphasize the nature and various types of digital collections; interfaces; hardware and
software requirements; telecommunications access modes and making such programmes part
of continuing education; as remote users continue to grow as a segment of our academic library
community, instruction services have to change to accommodate their needs as well.
Developing subject guides to reliable Internet sites for research purposes on the library home
page and web-based online tutorials linked to the library web site would enable patrons to have
immediate access to instruction". Another study involving of maintaining web pages for children
Coomes and Liew (2007) provided a snapshot of “how libraries have responded to
recommendations of involving stakeholders in the design and development of their services of
children's web pages in a number of public and state libraries in New Zealand and Australia.
The development of children's web pages is usually the responsibility of teams of internal

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stakeholders, with the librarians responsible overall for the library web site being involved most,
followed by children's librarians".

Frank (2007) had viewed from usability standpoint to enhance library website of Northwestern
University. "Many problems have not been solved either because of issues related to vendor-
supplied products that cannot be modified or lack of resources within the library to perform all of
the activities required to bring all areas of the website up to standards. And while significant
movement has been made in establishing an environment based on evidence-based practice,
global acceptance still remains elusive. However, by continuing to work on developing
evidence-based models that take into account the unique issues related to librarianship, it is
believed that evidence-based practice will become the norm, if we continue to develop and
reinforce these evidence-based skills".

Pagan, Balseiro and Loucil (2010) in their case study of using Web 2.0 tools and open source
software for libraries at three libraries of University of Puerto Rico observed that "the library
visibility is in its online web pages; the libraries strategise for creating the library web page. The
use of open source software and incorporation of tools and services known as Web 2.0 allows
one to understand the ongoing development of these services". A survey of East Midlands
University libraries by Manuel, Dearnley and Walton (2010) found that “institutional setting and
university policy are great influential factors in developing web presence of libraries and
considerable awareness of web analytics was demonstrated by four of the six libraries in their
survey".

5.1 Literature on Indian Library Services Perspectives
Looking at the published literature from library development enthusiasts and scholars it is
reported that library services in India want radical changes in redefining the library and
information services. Library websites as gateways of research and primary media for
information access is still in its infancy in Indian context. Studying the user perception towards
the library and information services of south Indian agriculture universities, Kannappanavar and
Swamy (2010) found that “there is a need to develop the culture of interlibrary loan services and
electronic transmission of documents, besides databases of theses, journal articles, and library
catalogues must be made available to users”. Evaluating the content, currency, and accuracy of
academic library websites in Bangalore City, Konnur, Rajani and Madhusudhan (2010) reported,
“library websites in Bangalore city have not come up to expectations as virtual expressions of
academic excellence. There is a lack of information organisation in most of the studied
websites”. Kumar and Biradar (2010) investigating the use of information and communication
technologies in college libraries in Karnataka found that “college libraries are not up to the mark,
and not providing the quality information services attributing to the lack of a good library policy,
high rate of unplanned growth, irrelevant collections and lack of support from parent
organisation and so forth”. Rao and Choudhury (2009), investigating the electronic resources at
National Institutes of Technology reported, “libraries are obtaining more than ten to twenty
databases invariably, and ninety percent have audio-visual course materials” which proves that
the libraries are acquiring the various resources but not web-available.

Evaluating the knowledge management practices among selected libraries in Bangalore and
Jammu & Kashmir states, Aswath and Gupta (2009) have “pointed out the under-utilisation of
resources in majority of the libraries”. Investigating the perception and usage of e-resources and
the Internet by Indian academe (Kumar and Kumar, 2008), found that “it is necessary that the
university and college library professionals should be more proactive in working with the
academic community to develop training programs as an enabler to use electronic information
sources more effectively”. Investigating the library services quality, Sahu (2007) has undertaken

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a case study of Jawaharlal Nehru University Library, recommending “tailor made
comprehensive information programmes for streamlining better information services”. According
to Malhan (2006), examining the functioning of university libraries in India pointed out, “libraries
are perceived as overheads unable to demonstrate visible contributions to the productivity and
profitability of the enterprise”. Kanamadi and Kumbar (2006) reasoned their findings with
“cursory approach of librarians’ in developing academic online services at Mumbai business
school libraries”.

Moreover, Jeevan and Pathy (2005) assessed the preparedness of premier IIT libraries in India
on “personalised content delivery and information services and found this customised service
prototype to be in nascent stage among the Indian Institutes of Technology libraries”. In
studying the library automation and networking in India, Vyas (1997) found that “academic
libraries are not under pressure as against the scientific and technical libraries”.

6. Methodology
For the purpose of this study, we have identified the universities including deemed to be
universities in south India offering technical courses in engineering, computing and
management disciplines to study the impact of technology assisted learning and web presence
of academic libraries. Majority of the institutions are privately-held, whereas state-run
universities are very few. A stratified sample of 40 institute library websites was selected to test
the hypotheses of technology use and deployment of web technology in academic libraries (See
figure 3).

"Take in Figure (3)"

Figure 3: The percentage of private and state-funded universities.



The sample reflects the universities established in the post-independence development of India.
The sample includes the state-funded and autonomous institutions to make the sample as
representative as possible (See Appendix 1 for complete list of universities).

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6.1 Framework for evaluation
An analysis framework is designed to evaluate the library websites in general. The framework is
developed by giving weights to the chosen functional area of topic on their relative importance in
providing web-based information products and services. The topics used to evaluate the
websites are broadly grouped into four categories: (1) websites for library, (2) resource
discovery tools, (3) access to scholarly content, and (4) Web 2.0 tools. This framework is
designed to check the presence or absence of these topics as web component tools. The
“Relative Weight Checklist” is attached in Appendix 2 with the methodology adapted for
calculation.
6.1.1. Websites/pages for library
The websites for the library is considered as a means of prefatory, single point of contact, a
place of bridge connecting the library staff and institutions. It acts as a “virtual entrance (Poll,
2007) to the library and as interface for all kinds of first-hand information services between the
user groups and library administration. The typical library website conveys important information
about the library, such as the address of the library, opening hours, the link to online catalogue
and the various services of the library. Hence, keeping the importance of the library website a
weight of 10 out of 100 (10%) has been allotted to this category.

6.1.2. Resource discovery tools
For academic libraries, access to subjects will be important, as the interests of students and
staff will vary as to faculty (Poll, 2007). In any pursuit for course readings and research,
resource discovery tools are essential to find the resources for the courses, bibliography and
further readings. With more and more discovery tools available over the Internet, being
semantically enriched by search engines, online subject gateways and catalogues were
considered as indicators for evaluating the websites. Maness (2006) had noted that Library 2.0
demands libraries focus on collaborative discovery systems. Similarly, custom search engines
increasingly become the norm of the academic library websites as the search engine for the
website increases the discovery of the embedded hybrid information resources. Search engines
and search engine optimisation are getting rigorous as the present situation calls for indexing
the hidden content of library resources on the deep web and exposure of library content to
commercial search engines for better discovery. Listing the requirements of search technology
academic libraries have to consider (Lossau, 2004) “indexing of qualified content resources,
handling of data heterogeneity, advanced navigation functionality, flexible ordering and ranking
schemes for results display and automatic extraction of metadata”. Discovery tools add greater
value in the process to involve with wider community by integrating all type of digital content and
the scale and richness of resources require customisation for discovery services (Brazier,
2007). Subject gateways based on the resource description ensure the primary focus on
distributed Internet resources, providing access to the sophisticated and subject resources
(Koch, 2000). Relating the subject gateways to the universal bibliographic control (Stoklasová,
Balíkova and Celbová, 2003) stressed the importance of subject gateways in integrating
heterogeneous information sources. Looking beyond the inventory functions of OPAC 2.0,
library catalogues have emerged as versatile discovery platforms providing web service access
to catalogue search, but library strategy is to think about catalogues as a platform that can
support many discovery applications not just the OPAC, as this enhance long-term end-user
discovery and use of library collections (Sierra, Ryan and Wust, 2007). Dempsey (2006),
“reflecting upon the resources required to keep library catalogue data accurate and up-to-date,
noted libraries ought to explore methods for integrating this data into relevant
applications…discovery of the catalogued collection will be increasingly disembedded or lifted
out, from the ILS system and re-embedded in a variety of other contexts”. Linking the Semantic
Web phenomenon to the library catalogues Blyberg (2007), predicted the future of OPACs are

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semantically enriched, ontology-rich, facilitating cooperative approach to data sharing as
integrated library systems are becoming semantically intelligent to discovery processes. The
allotted category weight for this category is 50 out of 100. So, the 50 % of the total category
weight has been allotted and distributed among the subcategories. The 25%, 45 % and 30 % of
the sub-category weights are given to the search engines, online subject gateways and web
OPACs respectively.
6.1.3. Access to scholarly content
For providing visibility to scholarly literature published by the scholarly societies, refereed peer-
reviewed journals, university publications and digital repositories, libraries assimilate and
provide access to the scholarly content on library websites. Institutional subscriptions and
Internet resources availability were checked; institutional repository, personalised user services
and e-learning options available on the websites were also explored too. The presence of
institutional digital library provides a platform for the research community in the campus to
publish their research output quickly as it provides a dependable archive of the published work.
A survey by Inger and Gardner (2008) on navigational behaviour of users found that nearly 60%
of respondents recognised that library technology most likely, therefore, link servers,
intermediated their navigational route to e-journals more than 95% of the time. Presumably,
therefore, at least 70% of the survey respondents were in institutions with highly effective
technology implementations”. Hawkins (2005) described “web technology allows for exciting
possibilities including collaborative creation of content, a blurred distinction between creators
and users, and greater and more targeted access to and publicity of scholarly information.”
Formulating the goals for digital libraries supporting e-learning Sharifabadi (2006), had noted “it
improves student performance; increases the quantity, quality and comprehensiveness of
Internet-based educational resources; make these resources easy to discover and retrieve for
students, parents, and educators; and ensure that these resources are available over time. In
the e-learning environment, digital libraries are considered as a federation of library services
and collections that function together to create a digital learning community with a wide range of
supported materials including curricula and courseware materials etc”. Maloney (2007)
discussing the importance of e-learning, projected it as a model that incorporates the paradigm-
altering technologies of Web 2.0 into teaching and learning. Keeping all these points in
consideration the allotted category weight for scholarly content category is 30 out of 100. At the
sub-category level the e-learning tools have been given 70% importance as audio-visual based
education and resources mark the viable just in time learning avenues in education and 30% is
given to digital repository presence.
6.1.4. Web 2.0 tools
As web 2.0 tools getting more popularised, the availability of web 2.0 tools - Really Simple
Syndication (RSS) feeds, multimedia objects, weblogs and presence of any components of
social media were taken into consideration. Harinarayana and Raju (2010) stated “collaboration
and participation are the most attractive features of Web 2.0”. In his analysis of 57 library
websites found that 64.91% have Instant Messaging and RSS feeds, 26.32% have blogs to
promote library services, 1.75% has Wikis, 5.26% have podcasts, and this trend suggests that
Web 2.0 will grow and its utility will increase in libraries”. As this indicates stronger possibilities
of interaction, which will eventually, retain users for exuberant resource discovery, sharing and
networking for information access and use. Most used feature of Web 2.0 tools is RSS, it helps
the user to get updated information without having to visit the website not only it eases to sift
through websites but also reduces the information overload (Harinarayana and Raju, 2010).
Photos, videos of multimedia tools throng the websites as the Library 2.0 is interactive,
collaborative and outgrowing into multi-media web-based technologies to web-based library
collections not just merely text (Maness 2006). The simplicity of blogs in publishing the content,

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and the features it allows others to record their comments has revolutionised the web publishing
world Harinarayana and Raju (2010); Maness (2006) had also wondered blogs nonetheless as
integral productions in a body of knowledge, and the absence of them in a library collection
could soon become unthinkable. Examination of Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Flickr,
Twitter, were checked. The use of social media is a catching trend on library websites to share,
revisit and network with peers but also it allows generating content. Harinarayana and Raju
have argued (2010) that the uniqueness of these sites is that they enable to share highly
personal to academic interests of users. The category weight assigned to this category is 10 out
of 100. Out of which 10% to RSS feeds, 30% to Multimedia objects, Blogs/Wikis got 50% and
10% for social media have been assigned at the subcategory level.

6.2 Scope and Limitations
In order to complete this research in time, the scope of the study is confined to the following
limitations:
1. The number of universities is higher than the sample of the universities taken for the study in
the region. Many of the state-run universities are furcated over the years regionally, and the
data on those library websites were not available.
2. Due to the non-availability of data of all the institutions in South India, it was decided to
choose the best and old institutions including India’s first autonomy granted engineering
colleges in the southern region of India.
3. Since, we were evaluating the basic features of library websites we have restricted to the
availability and online presence of web components of libraries; when exclusive library
website features not available, the general view of institutional websites were taken into
account.
4. This study does not investigate the website evaluation criteria such as usability, credibility,
user interface, and web analytics etc. Checking the service quality, validation, web analytics
of the library websites have not been tested.


7. Analysis and Observations
With the analysis of collected data and calculation of the category scores, one broad
generalised observation can be made, since the birth of web technology, the quality of the
library websites have not progressed proactively. The outlook of web-based library services
needs revival, that the innovative approaches and fresh thinking should redefine largely
benefitting all the stakeholders. Couple of factors can be attributed to the slow development of
academic libraries in India. Most prominently it could be:
 the level of importance and organisational support academic libraries are meted out in
the organisation’s mission;
 organisational conflicts between the libraries and parent organisations in terms of
resources allocation and continuous evaluation and
 performance of staff, their perception and the level of technical expertise in service
delivery. The human resources of library services need continuous training to realise
their potential as the current services remains more of conventional, outdated and lack
of innovation in outreach and information marketing.

No subject specialists, or liaison librarians, library and user guides, tailor-made information
programmes nor information products targeting specific community were available. The
rankings of the forty academic library websites are attached in the Table 2. The observations
are further explained below:

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7.1 Average score of universities by nature
Figure 4 shows the average scores of institutions categorised by nature of funding government
funding universities and private universities. Government institutions have 53.16 average score,
whereas the private universities show 36.93 out of the 100 allotted weightings.

“Take in Figure (4)”

Figure 4: The nature of universities –government and private and their average scores.


7.2 Top ranking university libraries
Indian Institute of Science scores in all the criteria and aspects; a well-designed library website
and layout of web pages have variety of resources assimilated for discovery. Cochin University
of Science and Technology got 96, followed by Amrita University with 91. Manipal University
has scored 90, and SASTRA with 86. Then, VIT University and KL University secured 85 scores
each and Christ University got 81. (For expanded form of abbreviations see the Appendix 1)
“Take in Figure (5)”

Figure 5: Scorecard of academic library websites of universities.

13



14



7.3 Outlook and diffusion of web technologies is low
Though, relatively few library websites are dynamic, vibrant and resource-rich, majority stand
way behind to adapt new generation web technologies to facilitate learning and information
services. It is found that most of the websites are just limited to providing the basic information
and in many cases that is in sub-standards. Websites for libraries are not exclusive but few
examples of library websites are found satisfactory. Most of the libraries’ basic services like
Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), recommendations, reference desk and feedback
options are not web accessible, which further reduces the visibility of library holdings and
services (See Table 2.)
7.4 Private universities versus state-run universities
Many privately-held institutions are proactive and user-friendly in their library website content,
whereas state-funded university websites need active web content. Anna University Chennai
has an exclusively devoted Library website at http://www.annauniv.edu/Library/index.html) but
content visibility is low. Multimedia tools like podcasting, streaming media, web-friendly
shareable options are sparsely available. Private universities have interesting advanced web
personalised features, which enables interactivity, networking among the peers and online
communities. To mention a few, MyVIT of VIT University (http://vit.ac.in/myvit.asp) and
Academy Web of SASTRA University
(http://webstream.sastra.edu/academyweb/usermanager/youLogin.jsp) and open courseware of
SRM University (http://www.srmuniv.ac.in/audiovideo.php?page=open_course_ware) are
personalised web services found to be noteworthy. Although, many advertisements of private
universities heavily use the library for publicity, the same is not visible on their websites.
Visvesvaraya Technological University has an exclusive e-learning centre with satellite based
and web-based course offerings at (http://elearning.vtu.ac.in/).
7.5 Lack of resource-rich content, discovery services and collaborative web 2.0 tools
In the growing digital web environment, resource discovery tools should be handy to direct the
users to relevant resources and the library websites should serve discoverability purpose.
Through this analysis it has been found that majority of the libraries do not provide discovery
tools, whereas many of them just confine to display the list of institutional subscription resources
on their websites. Multimedia tools, audio-visual streaming contents are not embedded on the
websites.
8. Issues and Challenges in Developing Web-based Information services
Though academic libraries of technical institutions are being established, scaling up the library
operations and the quality of services over the years, revamping the information infrastructure,
establishing liaison programmes and lack of support from parent organisations are big causes of
concern for the long-term growth of academic libraries. To raise the profile of libraries, academic
libraries have been struggling in terms of financial outlay, human resources planning and
infrastructure upgrade to build library image in outreach, liaison programmes and enriching web
information services. The following prominent three challenges are discussed here pertinent to
web information services development:

8.1 Funding for university libraries
Funding for the libraries and electronic information resources is a predominant issue, as many
educators continue to educate the learners without providing access to minimum course
readings and information resources. Though traditional library services are widely available, the

15

electronic information resources are not accessible to many. Federal funded institutions like IITs
and NITs have arrangements with international and national cooperatives and consortia,
whereas the state-funded and private institutions are facing lot of difficulties to fund and expand
electronic information services in the absence of continuous federal and state funding
assessments for information resources and policies. With no policy and review of needs
assessment conducted nationally, disparities in availability of information resources, inequitable
access, regional imbalances, and lack of coordination among the policy agencies are found to
widely exist. Moreover, conducting periodical audits, cost sharing, cost-benefit analysis of
institutional subscription resources and robust accreditation mechanisms for library
development are not streamlined for institutional development. The standards and norms for
funding the library services on a national scale need to be revised with the changing times to
critically examine and determine the investments on information resources and teaching aids,
for budget allocation, resource sharing and to ensure equitable access to all stakeholders in
technical education.

8.2 Manpower training and development
As per the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) quality norms and standards 8.11.1
(http://www.aicte.ernet.in/8staff.htm), a minimum of one qualified librarian, one assistant
librarian and four library assistants should constitute staffing in libraries. But standards and
policies pertaining to acquisition of books, human resources development and training, key
values and result areas, outcomes assessment, roles and responsibilities are not intelligibly laid
out. Job description and roles of library staff are not clear and revised as to the emerging trends
and needs. Lack of library personnel appraisal and training and development policies badly
affect the functioning of libraries for expected results and to keep up the performance of staff
productive and accountable. Despite the guidelines, majority of the libraries are either
understaffed or underpaid. Information marketing skills among the library professionals in India
is low with lack of substantial training, poor professional mentoring platforms and networking
skills among the peers. Poor outreach, lack of information literacy skills, no initiatives on liaison
programmes and subject specialisation, lack of good compensation and lackadaisical
professional development are the other factors that the workforce are lagging behind. Team
spirit, leadership development, sensitisation programmes and management skills are neither
encouraged, nor are the workplaces motivating. Moreover, the AICTE norms and standards
12.3.9, states the policies of establishing library infrastructure and information resources
access facilities (http://www.aicte.ernet.in/12norms_engineering.htm), but there is no precise
performance evaluation system for library and personnel by and large, resulting in indifferent
attitude, evading responsibilities, with no domain expertise, and lack of accountability towards
the library services.

8.3 Re-engineering Information Infrastructure
The information infrastructure requirements for technical education required to be upgraded to
the next generation enhancements and to the evolving online library ecosystem. Library
infrastructure should be developed in providing e-learning options, personalised information
services, course content delivery, online information consultancy and referencing, availability of
information resources for research and projects. The status quo of information infrastructure is
dismal in many universities that cyberinfrastructure has to scale up to the new breed of library
operations – institutional repository, digital libraries, and virtual referencing for which libraries
have to invest through strategic long-term planning, and financial means to build the
infrastructure. Libraries need to be networked and equipped to enable information resources
sharing by latest information technologies to ensure stable and perpetual information resources
access, whereas presently cooperative cataloguing and interlibrary loan services are least in
use. Growing open source tools and technologies provide greater flexibility and operational

16

freedom and have much to offer to the delight of educators and learners. Using information
technology, open tools and other crucibles are important today for librarians and educators to
harness the potentials of technology augmenting for the target users.

9. Conclusion
The library ecosystem is changing, so do the patron worlds and expectations. The looming large
web technology and its applications for libraries are exploited worldwide; the open source world
also offers variety of solutions at almost no cost for developing web-based information sources.
However, to start and strengthening library web services require strategic planning, training and
exposure to latest technologies and constant learning in the long-term. In order that libraries are
rated as best service units, the library personnel should strive hard to engage with the learning
community in variety of roles and functions– e-learning, course content development, online
subject gateways, information literacy and orientation programmes. Librarians need to cultivate
the habit of interaction, lead the change in scholarly communication, designing information
products, and developing information marketing programmes. As the technology world unfolds
for libraries, librarians have to be IT-savvy to understand the e-pulse of the today’s readers –
“digital natives.” Spearheading the library development moment we need to be at the forefront to
be the change with proactive principles and innovative spirit to initiate timely projects.
Overall, the performance of online library services is far from satisfactory and can be rescaled in
many institutions, yet there is room for massive transformation and change for the growing
economy. The implementation of web technology could be realised only when the library
personnel are skilled, and passionate to re-create the libraries’ mission. Given the parent
organisation support, technological university libraries can build robust information architectures
if combined with training, collaboration and continuous feedback from all the stakeholders –
faculty, staff, and above all end-users.

17

Table 2: Scorecard of the universities libraries websites
1 (See Appendix 2 for calculation of scores)
Resource Discovery Tools
(CW= 50)
Access to Scholarly
Content (CW= 30)
Web 2.0 Tools
4 (CW= 10) Total:
100
Websites/
pages for
library
(CW
2= 10)
S.
No
Name of University

Year
Estd.
Feature
present
(SCW
3=1
0)
Search
Engines
(SCW=
2.5)
Online
Subject
gateways
(SCW=4.5)
Web
OPAC
(SCW=
3.0)
e-learning
tools
(SCW=7.0
)
Digital
Reposit
ory
(SCW=
3.0)
RSS
(SCW
=1.0)
Multim
edia
(SCW
=3.0)
Blogs
(SCW=5.
0)
Social
Media
(SCW
=1.0)

1
Amrita University,
Bangalore
1994

1
5

10
1

12.5 1 22.5

1 15 0 0 1 21 1 1 1 3 1 5 1 1 91
2 AMET University, Chennai 1993 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
3 Anna University, Chennai
1978 1 10 0

0 1 22.5 0 0 1 9 1 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 62.5
4
Avinashilingam University
for Women, Coimbatore 1957 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
5
BS Abdur Rahman
University, Chennai 1984 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 0 0 0 0 1 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 66
6
Christ University,
Bangalore 1969 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 81
7
Coimbatore Institute of
Technology, Coimbatore 1956 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
8
Dr MGR University,
Chennai 1988 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad 2008 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 1 15 1 9 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 49.5
10
Bharath University,
Chennai 1984 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
11
Cochin University of
Science and Technology,
Cochin 1971 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 1 9 1 21 1 1 0 0 1 5 0 0 96
12
Gitam University,
Visakhapatnam 1980 0 0 0

0 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 61.5
13
Hindustan University,
Chennai 1985 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
14
ICFAI Foundation for
Higher Education,
Hyderabad 1995 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15
Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore 1909 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 1 9 1 21 1 1 1 3 1 5 1 1 100
16
Indian Institute of
Information Technology,
Bangalore
1999 1 10 0

0 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 72.5
17
Indian Institute of
Information Technology,
Hyderabad 1998 0 0 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 16.5
18
Indian Institute of Space
Science & Technology,
Trivandrum 2007 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 37.5

18

19 Jain University, Bangalore 1990 0 0 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 1 5 1 1 22.5
20
Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University,
Hyderabad 1972 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22.5
21
Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University,
Kakinada 1946 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 25.5
22
Kalasilingam University,
Virudhunagar 1984 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
23
Karpagam University,
Coimbatore
1995 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 5
24
Karunya University,
Coimbatore 1986 1 10 0

0 1 22.5 0 0 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 42.5
25 KL University, Vijayawada 1980 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 85
26
PRIST University,
Thanjavur 1994 1 10 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
27
PSG College of
Technology, Coimbatore
1951 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 1 5 1 1 55
28 Manipal University, Manipal 1957 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 1 9 1 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 90
29
Noorul Islam University,
Nagarcoil 1989 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
30
Periyar Maniammai
University, Thanjavur 1988 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22.5
31
SASTRA University,
Thanjavur 1984 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 1 1 1 3 0 0 1 1 86
32
Saveetha University,
Chennai 2001 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 37.5
33
Sathyabama University,
Chennai
1987 1 10 0

0 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 68.5
34
Sri Chandrasekharendra
Saraswathi
Vishwamahavidyalaya,
Chennai 1993 1 10 0

0 0 0 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25
35 SRM University, Chennai 1985 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22.5
36 Vels University, Chennai 1992 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 1 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 40.5
37
Vinayaka Missions
University, Salem 1981 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
38 Vignan University, Guntur 1997 1 10 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22.5
39
Visvesvaraya
Technological University,
Belgaum 1998 0 0 1

12.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 21 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 37.5
40 VIT University, Vellore 1984 1 10 1

12.5 1 22.5 1 15 0 0 1 21 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 1 85

Note:
1Wherever the data is not available on the library websites, university websites have been checked.
2CW=Category Weight.
3SCW = Sub-
Category Weight.
4
For web 2.0 tools, the university websites were also included, since in many cases, library websites do not have web 2.0 components.
5 1 and 0 represent presence and absence of a particular web component respectively.

19

Note
[1] Statistics on south Indian engineering colleges were collected from the respective state
departments and directorates of technical education for the year 2009 as provided below:
1. Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh,
available at: http://www.apsche.org/ (accessed 5 August 2010).
2. Department of Technical Education, Government of Karnataka, available at:
http://dte.kar.nic.in/ (accessed 10 August 2010).
3. Directorate of Technical Education, Government of Kerala, available at:
http://www.dtekerala.gov.in/ (accessed 8 August 2010).
4. Directorate of Technical Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, available at:
http://intradote.tn.nic.in/ (accessed 7 August 2010).
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Appendix – 1 List of Universities
Names of university libraries with abbreviated forms and unique resource locators (URLs).
S.
No
Name of the University Abbreviated Form Unique Resource Identifiers of University Library
1 Amrita University AUB http://engineering.amrita.edu/blr/

2 AMET University AMETU http://www.ametuniv.ac.in/faculty-library.htm

3 Anna University, Chennai AUC http://www.annauniv.edu/Library/index.html

4
Avinashilingam University
for Women
AUFWC http://www.avinuty.ac.in/library.htm

5
BS Abdur Rahman
University BSARUC http://bsauniv.ac.in/info.aspx?id=50&mid=15

6 Christ University CUB http://library.christuniversity.in/

7
Coimbatore Institute of
Technology CITC http://www.cit.edu.in/Library_faclti.htm

8 Dr MGR University DMGRUC http://www.drmgrdu.ac.in/

9 BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad BITS-PH http://www.bits-hyderabad.ac.in/library.php

10 Bharath University BUC http://www.bharathuniv.com/library.htm

11
Cochin University of
Science and Technology CUSATC http://library.cusat.ac.in/

12 GITAM University GUK http://gitam.edu/eresource/endex.htm

13 Hindustan University HUC http://www.hindustanuniv.ac.in/library.html

14
ICFAI Foundation for
Higher Education IFHEH
http://www.ifheindia.org/fst/index.asp?mode=resourc
es_facilities

15 Indian Institute of Science IISCB http://www.library.iisc.ernet.in/About.aspx

16
International Institute of
Information Technology,
Bangalore IIITB http://www.iiitb.ac.in/information/library/

17
International Institute of
Information Technology, IIITH http://www.iiit.ac.in/institute/infrastructure


23

Hyderabad
18
Indian Institute of Space
Sciences & Technology,
Trivandrum IISTT http://www.iist.ac.in/facilities/library

19 Jain University JUB http://jainuniversity.ac.in/Download/Infrastructure.pdf
20
Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University,
Hyderabad JNTUH http://www.jntuh.ac.in/university-library.php

21
Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University,
Kakinada JNTUK http://www.jntuk.edu.in/currentstudents/library/

22 Kalasilingam University KUV http://www.kalasalingam.ac.in/facilities.php

23 Karpagam University KUC http://www.karpagamuniversity.ac.in/

24 Karunya University Karunya UC http://www.karunya.edu/library/

25 KL University KLUV http://www.kluniversity.in/lib/default.aspx

26 PRIST University PRISTUT http://www.prist.ac.in/activities/library.html

27 PSG College of Technology

PSGCTC http://www.psgtech.edu/library/libindex.htm

28 Manipal University MUM
http://www.manipal.edu/CampusLife/Libraries/Central
LibraryMIT/Pages/Overview.aspx

29 Noorul Islam University NIUN http://www.niuniv.com/Library.pdf

30
Periyar Maniammai
University PMUT http://www.pmu.edu/library.html

31 SASTRA University SASTRAT
http://www.sastra.edu/index.php?option=com_conten
t&view=article&id=1277&Itemid=637

32 Saveetha University SUC
http://www.saveetha.ac.in/engweb/library/default.asp
x

33 Sathyabama University SAVEETHA UC
http://www.sathyabamauniversity.ac.in/sitepagethree.
php?mainref=4

34
Sri Chandrasekharendra
Saraswathi
Vishwamahavidyalaya,
Kancheepuram SCSVMVUK http://www.kanchiuniv.ac.in/Library.html

35 SRM University SRMU
http://www.srmuniv.ac.in/about_us.php?page=library
_activities

36 Vels University VUC http://www.velsuniv.org/library.htm

37
Vinayaka Missions
University VMU http://www.vinayakamission.com

38 Vignan University VUG http://www.vignanuniversity.org/library/library.html

39
Visvesvaraya
Technological University,
Belgaum VTUB http://elearning.vtu.ac.in/index.asp

40
Vellore Institute of
Technology University VITUV http://www.vit.ac.in/Library/Exceptional_library.asp


Appendix – 2: Relative Weight Checklist
Procedure:
1. Place a checkmark for each component that is available in the websites being evaluated.
2. Within each category, add the sub-category weights of the checked items, divide the
total by 10, and multiply the resulting number by the category weight to obtain the
category score.

24

3. To obtain consolidated score, sum all the category scores.
4. Category weights sum to 100, while sub-category weights sum to 10.

Checklist Categories Weight

1.0 Websites for library 10

1.1 Web component present 10.0
Category Score
2.0 Resource discovery tools 50

2.1 Search engines 2.5
2.2 Online research gateways 4.5
2.3 Web OPACs 3.0
Category Score
3.0 Access to scholarly content 30

3.1 Digital repository 3.0
3.2 E-learning 7.0
Category Score
4.0 Web 2.0 tools 10

4.1 RSS 1.0
4.2 Multimedia(Photos, Video etc) 3.0
4.3 Blog/wikis 5.0
4.4 Social media (bookmarks, Facebook etc.) 1.0
Category Score

Consolidated Score 100